First of all my apologies for this hastily put together post. Had no plans to write anything for the foreseeable future.
Then I read Markos’ post yesterday. This site, our community, is under attack. Markos is doing everything to protect us and needs our help.
But before we get to that, just a few bits of information for anyone who doesn’t like this post thinking they can come after me.
- Been dealing with bullies for a long time and not impressed.
- Already died and came back so not much frightens me.
- I don’t own a house, my car is 15 years old, and I’m on a fixed income.
- After over a year of anti science, anti vaccine BS putting all of us at risk, including my Critical Care RN Son and the larger health care community who risked their own lives to save the rest of us — bite me.
Now down to the business at hand. Like so many of us, and as I shared with Chitown Kev the other day —
“I’m worn down, exhausted by both worry and vigilance. And pissed by the betrayal of all we hold dear by lunatic right wing, science denying idiots who put everything we love at risk. They are an insult and injury to my soul and well being. And I’m betting I’m not alone.”
I needed to step back, take a break from all the rightwing unhinged toxicity and begin nurturing my self with poetry, plays, and paying attention to the small precious gifts each day brings. That includes delighting in how trees communicate with one another. I do love trees. The natural world is my constant heart’s home and comfort. Too much of human kind — not so much.
Like many of us burnt out from the last few years, I have not been on this site as often as I used to.
Not focusing on the latest racist, sexist, anti science, anti democracy foaming at the mouth rants by the usual idiots has been good for the soul and I planned on continuing to do so.
But Kos’s diary yesterday rang like a clarion call to arms. I’m not tired anymore, instead there is a determination to fight until hell freezes over.
If you haven’t read Kos’ diary yet, do so now and then come back. The link is here —
Yeah. That’s happening. Prominent anti-vaccer, anti science, idiot is suing Daily Kos in order to force them to release the name and personal information of a community member who wrote a diary Kennedy found insulting.
That the post was truthful is beside the point. The entitled delicate flower that is this Kennedy scion can not stand anyone’s opinion of him that is less than flattering.
He wants to sue our DowneastDem for libel and is demanding Kos release their personal information in order to do so. What shouldn’t have to be said is that this is a SLAPP lawsuit,
one designed to shut down all criticism.
A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), SLAPP suit, or intimidation lawsuit is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
In the typical SLAPP, the plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs, or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. In some cases, repeated frivolous litigation against a defendant may raise the cost of directors and officers liability insurance for that party, interfering with an organization's ability to operate. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat. SLAPPs bring about freedom of speech concerns due to their chilling effect and are often difficult to filter out and penalize because the plaintiffs attempt to obfuscate their intent to censor, intimidate, or silence their critics.
To protect freedom of speech some jurisdictions have passed anti-SLAPP laws (often called SLAPP-back laws). These laws often function by allowing a defendant to file a motion to strike and/or dismiss on the grounds that the case involves protected speech on a matter of public concern. The plaintiff then bears the burden of showing a probability that they will prevail. If the plaintiffs fail to meet their burden their claim is dismissed and the plaintiffs may be required to pay a penalty for bringing the case.
As Kos stated in his diary —
The full case history, and all filings, can be found here. Here is my affidavit expressing why it’s important for Daily Kos to protect the pseudonymity of its community, boiling down to this simple conclusion: “It is essential that Daily Kos take all efforts to ensure that a registered user may maintain anonymity. This is because some of the participants in our community would be subject to adverse treatment, for example in the workplace, and in some instances even physical harm to themselves and their family if their Daily Kos identity was revealed.” We take that seriously, which is why we’ve been fighting this case and will continue to do so.
Unfortunately, due to a judge who seems unconcerned with First Amendment protections, Daily Kos lost the first legal round and is appealing.
Kos is not going to stop fighting to protect DowneastDem and by extension every single member of this community.
We are all at risk, all under attack. What Kennedy is doing with his lawsuit is part of the larger war being waged against facts, accountability, and free speech. Examples abound including gag orders preventing physicians from giving women health care information, to Florida Governor DeSantis’ attack on tech company moderation, GOP laws targeting peaceful protestors, etc. The list goes on.
What Kennedy, DeSantis and others are doing is a totalitarian effort to shut down criticism, transparency, and accountability. What they do to Daily Kos and our community they will do to others. They want nothing less than total control over what we say, write, and do.
We must never cede that to them.
We either come together and stand up against them, or we’re going to see our rights taken away one by one.
We can take positive steps to stop this. We must. If it’s donating to Kos’ legal fight to protect this community then you can do so at the links Kos provided —
If it’s donating to the vital work that Marc Elias and Democracy Docket are doing to protect our voting rights and democracy against the growing swarm of voter suppression laws, then you can do so here — Democracy Docket
If you’d like to help Native American activists whose hard work was essential in turning Arizona Blue, and who are now under attack by the Arizona GOP, you can donate here — www.dailykos.com/…
If you can donate to a specific candidate do so.
There are myriad ways to help fight back. We don’t have to wallow in the toxicity that is Fox or the latest self serving, inane, traitorous utterances by Greene, Boebert, Hawley, Cruz, and the rest of them.
We must stop focusing on what they say and instead pay attention to what is being done. What laws are being passed? Which organizations are fighting back against the silencing of our voices and our right to vote?
What’s going on in your state? What organizations need your support?
And that support does not have to be financial.
It must also be helping get the word out, including the attack on our community. What happens here can happen everywhere if Kos does not stop it. Everyone who fights for justice, democracy, and truth will be at risk.
We must all come together and fight back. There is no other option.
There just isn’t.
So please, if you can, donate to Kos’ fight to protect this community.
Obviously, this fight isn’t inexpensive. So you can help us fight for the pseudonymity of this community by contributing here. I’ll keep everyone apprised of the legal case as it winds its way through the courts.
Donate whatever you can, when you can, where ever you can. You can also support the site by subscribing to Daily Kos. Purchasing a life time subscription for someone else, something many of us had much fun doing years ago during the site’s first subscription drive, is also available.
And always speak out.
Inform neighbors, family, and friends about the attacks on our freedom of speech and right to vote.
Those attacks are connected and deliberate.
Together we must fight back.
Through the years this community has accomplished so much. We’ve held each other up through the bleakest of times. We know how to do this.
Lets get it done.
Write diaries. Donate. Whatever you can do matters.
This is our hour. This is our time.
Together, we will continue to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice. Freedom can not exist without it.
Our Belinda laid out what is at risk in a comment. If we do not stand up for one another, who will? Markos is fighting for all of us. How can we do any less.
What a sad, sad thing that a son of Bobby Kennedy has come to this. Thanks for writing, Ono. I saw that diary yesterday and finally signed up for a small recurring donation — this community has my back, and I need to have its, not just Daily Kos’s but everyone’s.
How many times in a decade have I taken or been in a Daily Kos group photo where someone has to turn around, or step out of the frame, because they’d lose their job if they were known to post here, or be found by some abuser, or any of a number of other things. Someone in such a position needs a virtual community more, not less, than someone who’s free to appear online under their own name. We need to protect that for everyone, and bless Markos and Daily Kos for recognizing that and being willing to fight for us. Time for us to join that fight.
Together — a change is going to come.